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tv   Sanjay Gupta MD  CNN  June 19, 2011 7:30am-8:00am EDT

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their homes. i feel their pain, because in two years that could be me. >> now, that was one of the easier ones. the video you're seeing now, one of the organizers came up and got him before his routine was done and got him off the stage, within he moved on to trying to start to criticize some of the republican candidates. a rough routine. i'm back at the top of the hour. sanjay gupta right now. >> your old daddy loves you with all his heart. because she's cute, she's strong, she's so much fun. >> what you're listening to is a father's birthday message for his little girl. ♪ happy birthday to you >> i used to sing that song to
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you. >> a message for giovanna that he doesn't think he'll be able to deliver in person. >> you always have to believe in yourself. >> can someone please give her -- >> officials expression a desire to talk. >> i first met charles in the cnn newsroom ten years ago. he was just like everyone described him, the nicest guy. >> and won the biggest race in america. >> that voice, that hair. along with fred hickman, nick had been the face of cnn sports. baseball, football, he covered them all. >> the city will never be the same. >> reporter: his real love was boxing. >> did i some stuff in the '70s with ali. i got to go road work with him in the '70s and that was a m
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memorable time. marving hagler and tommy hearns in the '80s and the tyson years came along. >> reporter: these days it's about love taps from 5-year-old giovanna. it's not his first time around, he's had two previous marriages and three grown kids, jason, katrina. nick charles had been searching. >> 45 years old, meeting corey, i had been happy immediately. >> reporter: he revels in every moment with his girls. giovanna and his wife corey. the one thing nick doesn't have is time. even his daughter knows it. >> you don't get to go to heaven yet. >> i'm not going to heaven yet.
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i'm still hanging around to play candy land and win. >> i'll going to win. >> reporter: in early 2009 nick was the happiest he's ever been. but a shadow was creeping in. the robust nick charles had never been sick in his life. but something was changing in his body. >> i would ask people, my age, do you get up at night to urinate? yes, i get up. i was getting up, gee, six and eight times. i said something's wrong. >> reporter: it took six months to find the culprit. >> i went to houston. she said here's the deal. you have metastatic stage four bladder cancer. the average life span is 20 months. >> reporter: after a lifetime of covering fights, the fight was coming to him. >> you're going in to win? >> oh, to win, absolutely. >> reporter: to knock out cancer. >> absolutely. let's go at it. >> this is morphine, which is
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slow release. >> reporter: let's go at it. with nick's cancer, here's what that means. four combinations of seven different drugs, hair falling out, throwing up, seering pain through every muscle in your body. hives so bad it makes you want to tear off your skin. >> the first time the nurses came in, they put these blue jackets on that looked like they were going to get into a capsule and circumvent the moon. i said what's going on here? they said one of these we call it the red devil. you put it in for 15 minutes and if you get neon you, it could burn you pretty badly, pretty severely. i said, gee, if that could happen to the exterior surface of a healthy person, what are the bad effects of this chemotherapy going to be? >> reporter: hard on the body, harder on the soul. >> of course the forefront was that my family life would be
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destroyed on this earth and that i had a little girl that i wanted to see grow up and a wife that i was madly in love with. >> reporter: slowly and surely, the cancer and the chemo ground him down. by january of 2011, nick said no more. no more chemo. >> i said medically i'm through. i'd rather have the time remaining left to feel better. >> reporter: a story like this makes you wonder, what would i do. how would i look at my life, where would i find my strength? what would i tell my daughters? >> i keep telling her, i'm going to be in your heart and your soul. what's a soul, daddy? a soul is something jesus gave us. that's the only way i could explain it, it's christ in our heart all the time. my heart is something i'm going to be in a better place, waiting for you and i'm going to see
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everything you do. >> reporter: nick doesn't want regrets. not this time. >> this is the sweet one. that's a sweet one. >> can i have another one? >> reporter: what would you do? >> i just want to construct the conditions for my -- >> reporter: nick has a plan. >> i want to buy a piano for my daughter. the goal is to see the first lesson when we move into the new house. >> reporter: next, nick goes back to the change. you're watching "nick charles: lessons from the fight." nothing helped me beat arthritis pain. until i tried this. it's salonpas. pain relief that works at the site of pain... up to 12 hours. salonpas. took some wild risks when i was young. but i was still taking a risk with my cholesterol. anyone with high cholesterol may be at increased risk of heart attack.
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and see a phone call. now, we can take a classroom anywhere, hold an entire bookstore, and touch the stars. because now...there's this. nick charles, former cnn sports anchor has never stopped fighting stage four bladder cancer. even after deciding to stop chemotherapy. for he and his wife of almost 14 years, cory, it means setting goals. one at a time.
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>> okay, nick, you must make it to your 65th birthday in june, you must make it to her kindergarten first day and beyond, and it might happen, may not. >> it is almost day to day, moment to moment, and it is really quite sustaining for me and actually invigorating. >> reporter: boxing used to be his bread and butter. >> does any of this get old for you. >> reporter: his cancer kept him away from the ring for months at a time. in late march, hbo called. and nick was ready. >> it's all on him, it's all about ability. >> reporter: all about heart. >> to call another fight. >> reporter: what was like that for you, why was so important? >> i think the feeling i have for fighters, that whole subculture i love. >> great pleasure we welcome -- >> the feedback i got was tremendous. you were right, nick charles, i learned so much. you were at the top of your game. and i don't think they were
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being patronizing. i felt in my heart i was. >> we admire your courage and look forward to hearing from you again. >> likewise, bob. >> reporter: was it a metaphor for you, i mean, fighting? >> yes, it is. i mean, definitely, yes. in fighting you have to take pain to give it and you have to fight back. no matter what round it is, in boxing, unlike baseball, in the seventh inning, if it's 8-1, the stadium empties. in boxing you could hit a nine-run home run. i'm hoping that's going to happen to me, sanjay. >> reporter: you're still hoping? >> oh, yes. >> reporter: the eternal hope they say? >> why not. >> reporter: nick does something more, something i learned from him. he writes his hopes and dreams in a journal. he's done it since giovanna was born. >> it's going to take all of god's grace, which is never in short supply, to make me live longer. i want to for you and mommy so we can be a family here in santa fe.
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if -- sorry about this. if god takes me home, it will be forever. meanwhile i'm not going anywhere today. >> reporter: it's so tough for nick to write and it's tough to hear. but nick knows he at least had the chance to leave something behind. how do you feel when you read those? >> they're so reinforce to me, i know she's going to read them. i talk to people, they would long to hear their parents' voice or read something from them. >> i wish i could have gone to a school like this. want smt help? >> no. >> you're so big now, i forgot. you're 42 pounds. i see her running to school every day. so i know we're in the right place. i look around at this environment and i keep in touch, i look at the teachers she's going to see in a year or two and i probably won't be there to walk her in. i just feel she's in good hands. >> reporter: ten months after being diagnosed with cancer -- >> we're going to see my
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daughter's room over here. >> reporter: he and corey started doing something i found surprising, construction on their dream house. nick's goal, to live long enough to move his family and create some lasting memories. >> my daughter's room here is very vital to me. i've thought about every element exactly where her bed is going to go and a light and her desk and such, whatever here, created a window seat which will be covered so she can watch the world and read books and think about life. and here's that soft spot again, there's nothing in here but there's that prom dress. >> reporter: it's hanging right there. >> yep. it will be a great night, you know? i think i'll be there in spirit. >> reporter: i couldn't help but think there's no playbook on how to prepare your loved ones for a life without you. charles has been seeing a
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therapist. they invited to us see what it's like for each of them. >> i feel like i'm -- i'm grieving even though there's nothing physically to grieve about right now. >> that's what i'm hearing, too. you're really -- you're really anticipating, but it's not only anticipating a future, but you already have the sense of a more glorious past, that you just loved and a time when nick could be more the fullness of who he really is. >> i just refuse to grieve. looking at these daily increments again, not beyond that -- >> right. >> and say we're going to find real goodness here and laughter and we're going to make our lives a little better for each other. that extra hug is coming because i really love you. and that extra kiss. and giovanna is going to sleep
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in the bed with us because she wants to. i'll wake up and see her a little bit more and touch her skin and know that her daddy's there. >> you are so treasuring every moment that you can, aren't you? >> absolutely. >> i love you, mike. >> reporter: coming up, a visit from an old friend, mike tyson. >> announcer: this past year alone there's been a 67% spike in companies embracing the cloud-- big clouds, small ones, public, private, even hybrid. your data and apps must move easily and securely to reach many clouds, not just one. that's why the network that connects, protects, and lets your data move fearlessly through the clouds means more than ever. [ male announcer ] a moment that starts off ordinary
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nick charles, former cnn sports anchor, he's in the fight of his life, against cancer, stage four bladder cancer. >> whoa, i might catch you. >> yeah. >> reporter: he's hoping for the best. bracing his family for the worst. it makes you think. it made me wonder what do you tell your friends? >> let me take you back to x booing. >> mike tyson. that was in the late '80s.
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i think he was 20 years old at the time. tyson connected with me right away. we still have a wonderful relationship. he's coming to visit and he just -- he remembers every story i ever told him. love you, mike. love you, mike. look at that man. you don't change except for the better, brother, you really don't. >> he's trying to get up here. he'll be okay. we have it wrapped off. smartest dog i ever had, mike. he's a big poodle. >> i just realized at certain times at a certain stage of your life, life is just a big contradiction. things did i at 20 i would never do at 25. things i believed in saying at 20 i would never say at 25. i just want to do the right thing. >> you're growing. i know you're trying to change. i know this disease has really changed me, really has, made me gentler, made me know who my genuine friends are, like mike
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tyson. >> i have to look at things from a different perspective. this is where it gets creepy or tricky with me. i'm trying to reach in, i want to know that feeling where nothing really matters. you don't have to be fake, you don't have to do nothing. we're doing this right here. this is done from a friendship perspective, you know. >> you have to think if i'm lucky, to live that long, i'll have to endure that as well. that's at one stage of my life. >> life. >> you never know. >> it's wonderful to come here, i mean, to go through this with him, because i know what it's like to be alone when no one care for you and that's what happened sometimes. you need to be here with your nu
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nucleus, your wife and your children at times. we need some other influence, too, we need the world to live. things that made us the people we are. and sometimes we need a little bit of all of that to make us whole, you know? i need this to make me whole. i would feel like a piece of dog trash if i didn't have come here and see him eye to eye before he departed from us. how could i walk around with my head up, you know? how could i tell my kids this guy's a friend of mine, this guy's a friend of mine, but he died. why didn't you go visit your friend, you know? >> the whole connection, i know how you feel. i just, you know, i was crying with you, so i know. >> i know, brother, i'm happy to go through this journey with you. >> thank you, kitten. my pleasure. my pleasure. brother. brother forever. >> look at us. look where we came from. >> i know, man.
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look where we're going. >> this is where we came from. >> we're hanging out in heaven, right? >> yeah, big time. where we came from, man. this is awesome. >> i love you, mike. i mean, i don't care whether we were in tokyo or atlantic city or vegas or anything else. thanks, man. thanks, brother. love you, brother. now and forever, man. i know your heart. i know your heart. thanks. nothing to feel sad about, man. >> i will call you as soon as i land, okay? >> you better. you better. give tiki our love, huh? thank you, mike. thank you. god bless you. in every way. in every way. every day. hug those kids. >> i will. >> lessons from the fight. coming up, a surprise gift for his daughter and a happy ending. ♪ [ male announcer ] breathe, socket. just breathe.
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today it's moving day in the charles household. this might surprise you. but a year ago, nick and cory finally decided to build their dream home. >> there's the views. there's the peaks. >> it's another lesson nick taught me. live in the present, but keep dreaming, imagining, the future. >> i thank the lord for this day and all my friends who, you know, all the love that they're showing and that i'm achieving this milestone of getting in this new house. thrilling. that's all i can tell you. >> during a hectic day of packing boxes, nick sneaks away to the new house for a delivery of a special surprise gift for his daughter.
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>> well, welcome home. how about that? wow. right here. between the window and here. i get up in the middle of the night and research these things, you know, it just keeps you going. i always need a project, and i love to research things, and i was able, you know, that took probably 15 hours researching this piano, you know, and wanted to buy the very best one, at the very best price i could for my daughter. and, gosh, i nailed it. i just feel fabulous about it. i wanted to get this soft close for giovanna for sure, because, man, yeah, that's great. this is awesome. what do you think? straighten it out.
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straighten it out. go ahead. just play. ♪ >> when i went to see nick, i was looking for a lesson. or lessons. it turns out, it was more complicated. maybe not always the same lesson for everyone. no matter how much love and support you have, you step into that ring alone. >> you know -- >> from what i can tell, nick is relaxed, even happy. he's at peace with whatever happens now. to some, that's hard to understand. and maybe even harder on his family, his friends. >> i'm exhausted. >> i'm exhilarated, looking out here. when i woke up this morning, i saw a different scene and everything i was hoping for and more, just absolutely elevated things.
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>> 16 hours of packing and moving, and just a tremendous, you know, effort. i mean, we've moved three times in two years and this was for me the hardest. and it's probably subconscious reasons but -- >> like what? >> just hoping that you'll live a long time, nick. it is the reality. >> we'll be in the house together, right? >> exactly. i don't want you to unpack with me and you're not here. >> yeah. well, i'm feeling that way, that, you know, that picture's going to go over there for a reason. i'm going to be looking at it for years. >> right. >> next christmas and the trees going up and the "nutcracker" will be there and i'll be there. you know, that's the way i'm living my life with you. >> right. >> so, i wouldn't worry about it, you know? i love you so much. >> giovanna said to me if you weren't here, she would have broke down and cried, it was the best day of her life. >> oh, boy. living life in this wonderful place. this is where i want to spend the rest of my time on earth and i'll be waiting for you up


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